By Oluwatobi Opusunju
As the third Seedstars Africa Summit is set to commence in Maputo, Mozambique December 14th, Nigeria’s Minister of Communications, Bar. Adebayo Shittu has revealed that the nation has spent over $70 Billion in 16 years on startups. Shittu said this in Abuja at the ICT Start-up Ecosystem Stakeholders Meeting organized by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA).
According to him, it is imperative Nigeria begins to embrace innovation in Information Communication Technology (ICT) as a cash cow capable of rescuing the country from the web of economic downturn. Shittu said government has no choice than to further commit to innovation.
“Government has no option but to support the innovators and entrepreneurs in order to survive and create jobs to the teaming population. The entire civil service is made up of only 1.5 million Nigerians, yet we have a population of about 180 million. That means that government has barely been able to provide one percent of direct jobs for the population.
‘‘Whether we like it or not, since government cannot provide jobs for everybody, government must create enabling environment for everybody to responsibly be engaged. If we can appreciate what is happening in other climes, it means Nigeria’s government has a primary duty, not only to create the enabling environment for innovation and entrepreneurship to thrive, but we must amass positive support and collaboration for innovators and entrepreneurs to be properly engaged, so that they can contribute to national development,” he said.
The Maputo startup event is a pitching arena for startups across Africa and has some of the continent’s brightest innovators. The event will feature about 16 startups from different countries including Medsaf, an e-health startup that is making the process of buying and selling medication in Nigeria’s complex health system easy and efficient.
Others are, Tupuca, TABECH Serviços, LangBot, EMGuidance, Gifted Mom, Esene, PikiWash, Numida, MaTontine, Cinetpay, Nefrids Africa, AgroCenta, MyRunner, Yapili and M-Shule – all from over 17 African countries.